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Allium ampeloprasum - L.                
                 
Common Name Wild Leek, Broadleaf wild leek
Family Alliaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].
Habitats Rocky places near the coast in S.W. England and Wales[17].
Range S. Europe to W. Asia. Possibly native in Britain in S.W. England and Wales[17].
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium ampeloprasum is a BULB growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 8-Oct It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

USDA hardiness zone : 5-9


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Allium ampeloprasum Wild Leek, Broadleaf wild leek


(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Allium ampeloprasum Wild Leek, Broadleaf wild leek
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedgerow;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Bulb - raw or cooked[2, 27, 61, 105]. The small bulbs can vary considerably in size from 2 - 6cm[200], they have a fairly strong leek to garlic flavour and are nice as a flavouring in cooked foods[K]. The bulbs of selected cultivars are very large with a mild garlic flavour[183]. Leaves - raw or cooked[2]. A pleasant mild to strong garlic flavour, they are available from late autumn to the spring though they can become rather tough and fibrous as they get older[K]. Flowers - raw. A similar flavour to the leaves but they have a somewhat dry texture and are best used as a flavouring in cooked foods[K]. The bulbils have a mild garlic flavour and make a nice flavouring in salads and cooked foods. Although produced abundantly, they are quite fiddly to use because they are small[K]. They can also be pickled[142].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anthelmintic;  Antiasthmatic;  Anticholesterolemic;  Antiseptic;  Antispasmodic;  Cholagogue;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  Stimulant;  
Stings;  Stomachic;  Tonic;  Vasodilator.

This species has the same medicinal virtues as garlic, but in a much milder and less effective form[238]. These virtues are as follows:- Garlic has a very long folk history of use in a wide range of ailments, particularly ailments such as ringworm, Candida and vaginitis where its fungicidal, antiseptic, tonic and parasiticidal properties have proved of benefit[218]. It is also said to have anticancer activity[218]. Daily use of garlic in the diet has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on the body, especially the blood system and the heart. For example, demographic studies suggest that garlic is responsible for the low incidence of arteriosclerosis in areas of Italy and Spain where consumption of the bulb is heavy[222]. The bulb is said to be anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator[4, 9, 14, 21, 46, 165]. The crushed bulb may be applied as a poultice to ease the pain of bites, stings etc[4, 9, 14, 21].
Other Uses
Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[20].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1]. Prefers a dry position[45]. Succeeds in clay soils[203]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.2 to 8.3. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. The wild leek is a rare native of Britain, found only in the south-west and Wales, though it should be hardy in most parts of the country. It comes into growth in the autumn, dying down in the summer, and makes a very pleasant winter leaf, either raw or cooked. It is a rather variable plant, especially in the amount of flowers and bulbils produced. The species produces mainly flowers with almost no bulbils, whilst the sub-species A. ampeloprasum babbingtonii (Babbington's Leek) produces lots of bulbils and almost no flowers[17]. The cultivated leek (A. ampeloprasum porrum) is believed to have been developed from this plant whilst, in Germany and Italy, other forms have been selected for their edible bulbils[142]. The cultivar 'Perizweibel' is often used, the bulbils are solid rather than made up of layers and are popularly used for making pickles[183]. This cultivar does not set seed[183]. Another cultivated form of this plant produces very large, mild-garlic flavoured bulbs that are up to 500g in weight[183].They are known as elephant garlic[183]. The wild leek grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes[18, 20, 54]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[201]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, though it can also be sown in a cold frame in the spring[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Well-grown plants can be planted out into their final positions in late summer or the autumn, otherwise grow them on for a further year in pots and plant them out the following summer. Division in late summer or early autumn. Dig up the bulbs when the plants are dormant and divide the small bulblets at the base of the larger bulb. Replant immediately, either in the open ground or in pots in a cold frame. Bulbils - plant out as soon as they are ripe in late summer. The bulbils can be planted direct into their permanent positions, though you get better results if you pot them up and plant them out the following spring.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
17200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[14]Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs.
A good herbal.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[27]Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden.
A reprint of a nineteenth century classic, giving details of vegetable varieties. Not really that informative though.
[45]Polunin. O. Flowers of Greece and the Balkans.
A good pocket flora, it also lists quite a few plant uses.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[54]Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds.
Interesting reading.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[142]Brouk. B. Plants Consumed by Man.
Readable but not very comprehensive.
[165]Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
An excellent small herbal.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[203]Davies. D. Alliums. The Ornamental Onions.
Covers about 200 species of Alliums. A very short section on their uses, good details of their cultivation needs.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Marinella Tue Jun 10 2008

Acta plantarum forum botanico Allium ampeloprasum L. - Description - Photos

Elizabeth H.
Kuldeep Barna, Ph..D. Wed Oct 15 2008
sir, i am having few bulbs of an unknown species of allium, if anybody can help me to identify the same. i can send photos of these bulbs.
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